Chronic stress increases cortisol levels. Toxins disrupt your liver and digestive tract, and increase inflammation. Loss of sleep increases levels of leptin and ghrelin - hormones that help regulate your appetite and weight. The above factors, along with excess estrogen and impaired thyroid function, are common during menopause and can lead to increased fat storage and weight gain.
What is going on? Why am I gaining all this weight in menopause?
If you are reading this, you are likely approaching menopause or in the throws of menopause. Are you wondering what happened to your figure? Is your once toned body turning into a flabby mess?
This is in spite of the fact that you are exercising more and eating less. Do you feel like no matter what you do you are only getting fatter?
To understand what is causing the weight gain, STOP what you are doing right now! STOP actually is an acronym for the top 4 causes of menopausal weight gain:
- Stress and Emotions
- Out of Balance Hormones
- Poor Sleep
Let us look at each one of these a little closer.
1. Stress And Emotions
Stress is at the very root of all health problems including menopausal weight gain. This is because chronic prolonged stress leads to high cortisol and eventually adrenal fatigue and burn out.
Your body goes into survival mode and the cortisol receptors in the belly will lead to fat storage and also food cravings.
Unresolved emotional blocks adds to this stress further and the body compensates further by releasing neuro-hormonal factors that put you in survival mode and guess what? It too contributes to inflammation and weight gain.
If that was not enough, your body is put under even more stress due to toxic overload. Toxins in our food, water, and environment stress the liver and the digestive track. Both of which are very important to help your body to stay in balance and reduce inflammation.
When your body is inflamed, your hormones become out of balance and you are at a greater risk for disease. Protection against food sensitivities, infections and immune dysfunction is compromised.
When you are inflamed you swell up inside and the essential nutrients needed to make your hormones work optimally, in a time of reducing hormone levels, will be accelerated. This inflammation causes weight gain.
3. Out Of Balance Hormones
It does not take a specialist to tell you what you already know – menopause causes your hormones to be out of balance!
So which hormones contribute to weight gain?
Estrogen as you probably know falls during menopause. Your smart efficient body tries to help out, but by increasing fat storage to help you hold on to that estrogen around your mid-section. If that is not enough, many women also develop low thyroid function and insulin resistance which too accounts for more fat storage.
4. Poor Sleep
I can not sleep!! Is this you? Many women complain of poor sleep during menopause. Those darn hormones are causing night sweats that wake you from your slumber. This seems to happen for many women between 2-4 a.m.
There are various opinions on why this happens at this time. There is likely a shift in hormones, blood sugar levels, adrenal repair and liver detoxification that may well be occurring during this time and raising your body temperature and waking you up.
Add to that – changes in neuro-chemical balance due to low serotonin affecting mood and lower melatonin affecting sleep. Losing even one hour of sleep a night can sabotage your weight loss efforts by increasing leptin and ghrelin – two very important hormones that help regulate your appetite and weight.
5 Tips To Prevent Menopausal Weight Gain
- Reduce stress, and emotional challenges.
- Decrease your toxic burden through a healthy diet, drinking filtered water, and limiting exposure to environmental toxins.
- Learn how to optimize hormonal balance.
- Do not make your hard work of extreme exercise and eating like a bird continue.
- Out smart your own body and get it working for you again.
Learn how to find hormone balance at Menopause Sisters